U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (Democrat, Maryland) and Cory Gardner (Republican chair of Senate East Asia Committee, Colorado) both warned China against a violent crackdown on HK protesters. Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate Majority Leader has also warned China that a violent crackdown on the protesters would be “completely unacceptable.”
Cardin, a Democrat, has co-sponsored bipartisan legislation that would require the U.S. government to provide annual justification for the continuation of special treatment afforded to Hong Kong.Reuters
A 1992 U.S. law affords Hong Kong preferential treatment in matters of trade and economics compared with China. Areas of special treatment include visas, law enforcement and investment.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio is a co-sponsor of Cardin’s bill, so these warnings to China are bipartisan and serious. Hopefully, China will negotiate with the protesters in good faith, honoring the guarantees made to the people of Hong Kong at the time of the transition back to China. A strong, vibrant, free economic and political system will allow Hong Kong to be be much more valuable to China than an oppressed and fearful Hong Kong. Beijing needs to overcome its fear of political freedom.